Feed the Right Wolf

Like the rest of the country, I woke this morning to the news of the 2016 election results. To say we were devastated is a complete understatement. The feelings of despair are so raw, it’s impossible to put into words.

It’s beyond comprehension that Hillary’s opponent was elected (he who will not be named – not out of fear, but because I don’t ever want his name to issue from my mouth). It’s partly disappointment and disillusionment that this country is still so sexist that it will not elect a woman who was eminently more qualified than her opponent; it’s partly the blatant lies the orange one told, but even more so, that so many were willing to buy into the lies wholeheartedly without questioning them; but it’s mostly that so many bigoted, ignorant white people were willing to ignore or excuse his boorish behavior, his meanness, his mean-spiritedness, his littleness. He will never be my president. He is undeserving of any respect. I cannot imagine what the future will look like these next four years.

That’s my anger and bitterness talking. It’s going to be a long time before that goes away, if it ever does. But if I do nothing with that anger, that bitterness, then what good is it? What good will come from it?

We recently watched the movie “Tomorrowland”, a film that did not get nearly enough attention in my opinion. It had a fantastic message. Near the beginning of the movie, the main character, Casey, reminds her father of a parable he had told her many times:

“There are two wolves, and they’re always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?”

wolves

(source: youtube.com)

Whichever wolf we feed wins.

My sister has texted me today about her own sadness and despair at having to explain to her young sons how America has come to this – how we could have elected someone like the orange one, someone who is exactly opposite all the values she and my brother-in-law have tried instill in their boys.

Which wolf will we feed? What kind of America will we get?

When people watch reality television and obsessively follow celebrities who contribute nothing positive to society (sex videos don’t count as acting), they are feeding the wrong wolf.

When people bully and harangue each other, hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, they are feeding the wrong wolf.

When people refuse to call our politicians on lies and half-truths, when they rally behind bigots and racists and misogynists because it makes them feel entitled to spew their own hatred, they are feeding the wrong wolf.

If any of us contributes in any way to the darkness and the despair, we are feeding the wrong wolf.

How do we feed the right wolf – the one of light and hope?

Fellow author Cindy Rizzo wrote a beautiful post earlier today urging people to work for all of the things that we hold dear: hold your loved ones close; embrace your faith, if you have one; work to support the elderly and the homeless; work to save the environment; do what you can with whatever resources you can.

Every single social justice and environmental cause is going to need our energy and  support more than ever before.

Together, we can feed the right wolf. We can bring light and hope to a world that is desperately going to need it over the next four years.

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10 thoughts on “Feed the Right Wolf

  1. I’m sorry about the election results, Caren. As always, you’ve managed to capture the emotional response so well, and I like that you’ve thought about a way to do something positive with your anger.
    The wolf analogy is very apt. To extend your analogy again, the battle of the wolves affects all of the animals in the forest that is our world, and the ones in the snowy land next door hope that the right wolf will win, too. I’ll help you feed it. 🙂
    Political participation and activism, and NGO involvement are strong, deeply entrenched aspects of American democracy and I agree that they are a way for everyone to get through the next four years.
    I haven’t watched Tomorrowland, but I think I saw it listed on Netflix, so I’ll give it a try.

    • Lisa, thank you for commenting. We’ve been so caught up in our own grief and anger (and dreaming about where we can flee to as political refugees), that it’s easy to forget that this election will have ripples for all the forest, even our snowy neighbors to the north.

  2. Thank you for your heartfelt and hopeful post. I might not live long enough to see the healing and restoration of justice that must follow the present and coming destruction (I won’t underestimate the reach that destruction can have) but I am determined to be part of the solution while I am able.

  3. As a European, the results were not unexpected for me. It’s sadden me to say that my interactions on the Internet with Americans post those past years tragedies has shown a growing anger, baltant racism and xenophobia. However with the refugees crisis in Europe my fellow countrymen are walking on the same footstep.

    For most, harboring hatred and believing lies are easier than trying to educate oneself and be open minded, this is the world we live in unfortunately. History repeat itself but people will never learn.

    As a human being that try to be decent to others, I will continue to show to anyone who cares to look that people have goodness in them, that our world can let the light shine instead of falling into the darkness.

    • Judoit, you are so very right. I think we’ve been heading in this direction, as a reaction to the strides the world had been taking. But the danger is very real for Europe. There are already signs that the far-right is gaining momentum in many European countries as well. Terrifying. And I, too, was stunned that people would believe such blatant lies rather than take a little time to look up for themselves the true version of things.

      It’s people like you, all of us around the world, feeding the right wolf who will keep the light shining. We have to. There is no choice.

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